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May 31, 2021 3:47 pm

Syrian Regime’s Election to WHO Executive Board Condemned by Human Rights Activists

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A view shows the damage at a hospital in a rebel-held town of Atareb in northwestern Syria, March 21, 2021. Reuters/Khalil Ashawi

A leading human rights NGO that monitors the United Nations has expressed disgust at the election of Syria to the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) last Friday.

“Syria’s election is a travesty,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch. “It’s like appointing a pyromaniac to be the town fire chief.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nearly 600,000 people, including 21,900 children, have been killed during the decade-long civil war in Syria, which began with Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s bloody crushing of pro-democracy protests in 2011.

Nearly 7 million people — around half the country’s population — have been forcibly displaced by the fighting. Around 5.6 million refugees remain stranded across the borders of Syria’s neighbors in the region.

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“Syria’s Assad regime, with the help of its allies Russia and Iran, systematically bombs hospitals and clinics, killing doctors, nurses, and others as they care for the sick and injured,” Neuer said in a statement. “Health professionals have also been arrested, disappeared, imprisoned, tortured and executed. Electing this murderous regime to govern the world’s top health body is an insult to Assad’s millions of victims, and sends a terrible message.”

Neuer called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to denounce Syria’s election.

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